hikes

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ALISO SADDLE

This hike is designed specifically for guests of the Montage and the Ranch hotels. Easy to access from the resorts, they begin on the beach and then rise through a south Laguna neighborhood and into the Laguna Coast wilderness. After a relatively steep climb, hikers will be afforded a dramatic view of the ocean, from Dana Point to Palos Verdes. Then they will continue climbing until they reach the top of Laguna niguel, with a view into the Aliso and Wood Canyons Park wilderness.

CRYSTAL COVE

Great for those staying at area hotels, this leisurely (up to 6 mile) hike travels the length of the park, with half on the sand and half on the headland bluffs. One of the last natural preserves on the Southern California coast, Crystal Cove has abundant native sage scrub amidst a glorious ocean backdrop. After walking the bluffs we’ll continue down a ramp and onto the beach, where there are towering cliffs and dramatic tidepools. If the tide allows, we will explore the distinctive eco system in this intertidal zone. Then we’ll stop at the famous restored cottages and the historic beach colony that dates back to the 1920’s, and has been home to many movie shoots. If your group wants a more challenging hike, we can also include parts of El Moro, a steep canyon set back from Crystal Cove.

DANA STRANDS BEACH TO DANA POINT HEADLANDS

We begin this easy hike by walking down to the Strands Revetment Trail (cement beach path) and follow it south along stunning beach front luxury homes and adjacent surfers. As we approach the Dana Headlands we head back up to join the protected marine nature preserve of the Dana Point Headlands Conservation Area featuring sweeping ocean views among native sage scrub. This one mile trail is home to two federal endangered species (Coastal California gnat catcher and the Pacific pocket mouse), and Environmentally Sensitive Habitat Area for native rare plants. It's also a protected cove where pirate ships used to land their booty in the 1800's. If we're lucky we'll see Grey Whales as they migrate near shore between Mexico and Russia. Arriving at the south end of this trail we enjoy a massive view of the Dana Point Harbor, which was built in the 1960's and is now home to a 1825's replica of Richard Henry Dana's sailboat Pilgram and 1770 replica of a privateer schooner used during the American Revolution. On a clear day we'll also see the entire coastline south to San Diego.

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